Apr 27 2005
Rumors were correct earlier this week, especially when Amazon posted the
new DP 2.7 GHz PowerMac G5 online yesterday, that Apple would update the
PowerMac G5 line this week. At the same time it lowered prices on the 20″ Cinema & 23″
HD Cinema Displays
.

Apple discontinued the DP 1.8 & DP
2.5. Does this mean my machine is now a collectible?

The lineup is
now: SP 1.8; DP 2.0; DP 2.3 & DP 2.7. The Dual
2.7 GHz 64-bit PowerPC G5 ’s main specs are: 512MB DDR SDRAM (still no 1GB
standard on this model?
), 250GB SATA 7200 rpm HDD, ATI Radeon 9650 with
256MB DDR SDRAM and a dual-link DVI port to support a 30-inch Cinema HD Display
(quite impressive since up to now you had to pay $599 for the NVidia GeForce
6800 Ultra DDL to use the 30″ Cinema Display
) and a faster 16X SuperDrive
with Dual Layer support. It includes 10.4 Tiger & iLife
‘05
.

While this is still not the DP 3GHz which would have
been available last summer Steve Jobs said at the 2003 WWDC ;) this upgrade
with .2 GHz bump in CPU speed, 90GB extra HDD capacity, native 30″ Cinema
support, 16x dual layer SuperDrive + Tiger & iLife is pretty sweet.
Especially in combination with a 20″ Cinema Display which now only costs $799. A
$500 price drop in 6 months. [ ouch! :( ] The 23″ Cinema HD is now
priced at $1499.

Updates to other members of the Mac family next
week?

Click here to read more …

Apr 21 2005

If you were waiting for Nikon’s update to the popular D70, you may be disappointed. Many, me included
(especially after the 8MP digital Rebel XT), anticipated Nikon would go head to head with Canon with an 8MP D80 or something along that line. Well, Steve’s Digicams early yesterday morning reported Nikon’s announcements. The Nikon D70s remains at 6 MP but sports a 2″ LCD and raises the bar with many enhancements (better autofocus, more frames per second, faster flash sync, …). Price= $899 body & $1199 kit with 18-70 lens.The brand new Nikon D50, also with 2″ screen, will be a more affordable (prices have not been announced yet) and compacter 6MP dSLR. Specs wise it doesn’t offer some of the high-end features and one could say it’s a down-featured D70 in a smaller package. One surprise in the details: it uses SD memory cards rather than Compact Flash. DPreview has the first in depth article.

For a detailed comparison between the D70, D70s & D50 check out this comparison table by DPReview.

Good news for D70 owners is that Nikon will release a D70 firmware update to give it the improved
auto-focus, menu system and add in-camera setup for PictBridge from the D70s. (Link from Steve’s Digicams)

Nikon also announced two new dSLR lenses: AF-S DX Zoom-Nikkor 18-55 and 55-200. A pretty sweet lens set that’ll take you all the way from 27 to 300mm.

No word yet from Canon on an EF-S lens covering that 55-200mm range or even better: an EF-S 55-300mm IS USM. Current dSLR lenses remain the EF-S 10-22mm; EF-S 17-85mm and EF-S 60mm Macro.

Rebates. If you are in the market for something Canon, there’s a new Cash in With Canon promotion offering rebates of $100 on EOS 20D, $500 on EOS 1D MarkII and up to $50 on lenses and flash
accessories. Other promotions can be found here.

Apr 19 2005
There was quite a bit of news the past two weeks.

MacDesign
magazine announced they’re changing names to Layers
Magazine
in a move to appeal to more potential readers. Surprisingly
the content will be narrowed to Adobe products? Euh, how about the creative apps
from Macromedia & Apple? *

Adobe released Creative Suite 2. On top of updates to all
applications like Photoshop, GoLive, InDesign, Illustrator, … there is now the
Bridge file browser, organizer & shopping cart to order stock images.

Apple announced it will “unleash” Mac OS X
Tiger
on April 29. While I do like dashboard, automator, smart folders
& mailboxes, spotlight and a few of the other over 200 new features (like RAW support in
Preview) I’m not upgrading right away. 10.4 is nice, but it’s not quite there
yet. My negatives on Tiger: cut/copy/paste in the Finder (still not fixed), l
various Finder shortcomings remain, iSync is still crippled with .Mac required
(= no Mac 2 Mac over LAN), GUI + needs to maximize windows, no updated &
improved text to speech voices, AV iChat needs support for other platforms like
MSN, ICQ, …)

OS X 10.3.9 – the last big update to Panther.
There are a few bugs so maybe we’ll see a 10.3.9.1 ;) A security update related
to iSync just appeared in Auto Update. No word yet on a fix for the Java /
Safari issues. The really good news is that 10.3.9 brought us Safari 1.3. It’s
version number is v312, quite a jump from 12x. I do give Apple thumbs up for
this move. ( note: Safari still has problems with alternate CSS stylesheets -
including Dave Hyatt’s Safari blog )

Yesterday’s bombshell that Adobe wants to buy Macromedia for
3.4 billion dollars has many worried that the merger of the two heavyweights
will lead to less innovation and that Macromedia products – Flash of course
excluded – will no longer be updated. Or perhaps they’ll be merged ->
GoWeaver? DreamLive?

* I guess the folks at MacDesign had some
insider info as all the Macromedia stuff will fall under the Adobe umbrella (if
the merger is approved).

Video Pros can whip their credit card out
for Apple’s Final Cut Studio with Final Cut Pro 5,
Soundtrack Pro, Motion 2 and DVD Studio Pro 4.

And, last but not
least we have a (right now undocumented) bug fix update of iBlog to 1.4.3.

Click here to read more …

Apr 18 2005
Now that was a pretty busy week. I’ve asked myself a few times already:
“When we will have a real vacation again?” ;)

I was actually too
tired to write last night. We’re both feeling a lot more active today, so here’s
a few highlights.

On the way down, our plane came in a half hour
late and after they boarded everybody, I noticed they stopped loading luggage.
Mmmm? Turns out they couldn’t fuel the plane because the “gas cap” was stuck. An
aircraft mechanic couldn’t resolve it, so it was out with the luggage and the
passengers. Time to change planes folks. And that’s why we reached our
destination two hours late. Fortunately that was the only travel hiccup.

In the beginning of the week I got a little worried about the
roofers since I thought they’d be there Monday or Tuesday AM. Nobody showed and
my calls were initially not returned. Turns out they were calling the home # up
north. So, Wednesday it was. Apart from a few pieces of lumber they had to go
pick up and bit of supervision needed about an issue I noted; the whole thing
went like clockwork. It’s fascinating to see how fast these guys work. Hammer or
gun, they’re nailing those shingles in place really fast. In one workday: old
roof gone, new one installed.

Luck was on my side Thursday &
Friday windsurfing wise as it’s not often you get two windsurf-able days in a
row in central Florida. Funny how a breeze can capture your heart and make you
itch to get out on the water. You hear the trees, feel the wind in your face,
peek at the water surface – Yes, plenty of white caps! – and are just drawn to
the water. That little voice inside says: Drop whatever you’re doing and grab
that gear ;) So I did :) C shot some great images with my camera (first time she
used it) for me. Thank you darling! I love
you!

Zipping
across the lake

Leaning
into the turn

Floating
near shore, exhausted but so happy

Sandpipers
after sunset on Anna Maria Island

Click here to read more …

Apr 8 2005
We’re jumping on the plane tomorrow, heading south to Florida. While it
will be more of a working vacation; the good news is we will finally have our
hurricane damaged roof replaced. Yes, only 6 months after the 4th hurricane hit.
The materials were delivered a few days ago. My temporary repair is still
holding, but you don’t know how long those would last.

It’ll be nice
to catch up with family & friends. With some luck – I certainly am crossing
my fingers – there will be at least a windy day so I can windsurf a little and
recharge my batteries.

With a photo of the first flower I saw this
year I say: see you next week :)

Click here to read more …

Apr 6 2005

The Kennebec river went several feet above flood stage here in Augusta, causing a considerable part of the riverside city park to be flooded and this sign (at the start of a walking trail by the access to the boat
ramp) to stand up to it’s shoulders in water.

Apr 6 2005

Apr 3 2005
Here are two iPod Color images to use with Now Playing, discussed earlier this week.

Just
save the image to your hard drive in the Theme subfolder of Now Playing and
rename to theme.png.

The first is a 150px wide blank iPod Color
screen:

The second is a 150px wide blank iPod Color with a slightly enlarged
screen area. A regular scaled down iPod’s screen is too small to contain text at
a decent size (plus small fonts often render bad), so I bumped the screen up by
a few % :)

Enjoy!

Click here to read more …

Apr 3 2005

A little extra snow for the western Maine mountain region

while the rivers are opening up.